Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan Markle POOL/TOBY MELVILLE

A former New Zealand women's magazine editor has admitted to publishing "untrue" stories about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. She also shared her regret and issued an apology to the couple.

Alice O'Connell, the former editor of Women's Weekly in New Zealand, said she was motivated to pen an open letter of apology to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after seeing a magazine cover she had signed off on featuring the couple's "Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries. Looking back, she realised the headline in the magazine, "Meghan's shock past: Is Harry heading for trouble?" was "unnecessarily mean" and it made her feel "ashamed."

In the letter titled "An Apology to Prince Harry: A Former Women's Mag Editor Shares Her Regrets" posted on her lifestyle blog "Capsule," she admitted that she is "not proud" of the way she covered stories about Prince Harry. She said she is "someone who apologises often and profusely – perhaps even to a degree that is problematic."

She apologises even when "someone else is in the wrong," for things that are out of her control, and even for the weather. O'Connell acknowledges with "some embarrassment" that she owes the Duke of Sussex a "genuine apology" and explained why this is so.

"See for four years, from 2016 – 2020 I was the editor of New Zealand Woman's Weekly (having been the assistant editor for two years before that). The backbone of the Weekly was stories about the royal family – and had likely been that way for the majority of the magazine's 90-year history. Nearly every week that I worked there, they were either the main cover, or a large drop-in. They were that popular," she wrote admitting that she "didn't always get it right. Particularly not when Harry and his wife Meghan were concerned."

O'Connell admitted that she "published some stories that were unfair and incredibly one-sided – and can now see were from sources who weren't telling the truth." She added that her "biggest mistake" was that she "stopped seeing Harry as a human being."

The former magazine editor acknowledged that she "wasn't kind" to both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. This realisation dawned on her when she watched the news about the 38-year-old's privacy case against Mirror Group Newspapers, in which he accused them of hacking his voicemail messages.

"As I watch Prince Harry's court case, I feel nothing but shame, and anger. And regret. Because he's right. He's completely in the right – although, unfortunately, I fear he won't have enough evidence to win."

She added, "Now, I want to make it clear that in my former job, I never had a part in anything as scandalous and low – even in the same ballpark – as phone-hacking or underhanded measures for getting stories. But I was a cog in the machine – yes, a very small cog, all the way out on the other side of the globe in New Zealand, but a cog, nonetheless."

O'Connell admitted, "I reprinted stories and quotes from British newspapers and magazines that, knowing what I know now, were untrue. I commissioned stories to British writers, who I trusted for their connections in the Palaces, that contained information that was, in hindsight, likely very untrue."

"While I should have apologised sooner, I've felt the urge recently – especially seeing one paper only apologise when forced to and watching as the rest of the media forges on ahead in their narratives, refusing to reflect on their practices or past reporting."

O'Connell acknowledged that while she "might be alone in this apology" she still "wanted to voice it" adding that the "biggest apology" she owes Prince Harry "is for not truly treating him like a human being."